Video gamers help discover two new planets

I’ve already posted about video gamers helping scientists with AIDS research, but did you know that gamers have also helped discover two new planets?

An online gaming experiment, set up by the Universities of Yale and Oxford, among others, has helped researchers discover what could very well be two new planets outside of our own solar system. “In the first month after launch, users identified two new planet candidates which survived our checks for false-positives.”

This browser-based game, called Planet Hunters, gave gamers an objective involving observing the light emitted by stars for changes. A shift in light might indicate a planet is moving across the star. Researchers collected this data and used it to search for potential new planets.

Planet Hunters also has achievements. Each gamer who contributes gets their name placed in the acknowledgements section of  The Royal Astronomical Society monthly notices.

Planet Hunters is a new citizen science project, designed to engage the public in an exoplanet search using NASA Kepler public release data,” explains the official report.

Source: Gamasutra

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